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20121201
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Search Results 0 to 15 of about 16 (some duplicates have been removed)
as a prototype for many american cities, including pittsburgh and new york. man: new york city went to philadelphia and said, "you know, we're thinking of developing a hudson river water supply -- what do you suggest we do?" and they said, "we've had "a lot of problems on the schuylkill. "don't go to the hudson river. go to the upland and work by gravity." and that's what new york city did. they first went to the hudson highlands, but 150 years later, it went to the delaware highlands. and really diverted the water that normally went to philadelphia to new york city. i don't think they anticipated that. narrator: the majority of new york city's drinking water comes from watersheds in upstate new york. a watershed is the area of land where water from rain or snow melt drains downhill into a body of water. mountains act as a funnel to feed rivers and lakes. and in this case, reservoirs. in the new york city system, water is collected and stored in 19 reservoirs, which can hold more than a year's supply -- over 580 billion gallons of water. almost all of the system is fed by gravity, w
scale and complex engineering. man: water is essential to the economic viability of new york city. reliable infrastructure and reliable delivery of water is a must. you have to reinvest in the infrastructure every single minute to keep it current. hurwitz: we have the stock exchange, we have the united nations -- failure can have a dramatic impact on the nation, and even internationally. so there's a really keen awareness that you always have to be fixing the system. things corrode, they rust. they get to where you turn them on and nothing happens. but it is so totally used in every nook and cranny, that making any accommodation to shut it down, to do something to it, is very difficult. narrator: two massive underground tunnels, called simply tunnel 1 and tunnel 2, provide most of the city's water supply. they run hundreds of feet below manhattan, far deeper than the subways. built at the beginning of the 20th century, they are concrete-lined and bored through solid rock. they could last centuries. but the mechanical equipment within them will not. engineers in the 1950s discovere
that if they closed the valves for tunnel inspections, they may never open again, leaving new york city without water. so they chose to keep them open. as a result, there has not been significant inspection, maintenance, or repair of the tunnels in decades. no one knows their current condition. hurwitz: currently, city tunnel 1 and city tunnel number 2 would be feeding each half of the city. so you'd lose half the city if you didn't have a replacement. narrator: without half of its water supply, the city would shut down. for nearly 40 years, new york has been in the process of constructing a solution. man: this project is water tunnel number 3. we started on this project in 1969. i'm a sandhog. i've been a sandhog for 37 years. narrator: sandhogs are the men of local 147, who work deep below the city. they began building the infrastructure of new york in 1872. from the subways to the sewers, the water tunnels to the highway tunnels, new york city thrives because of their work. ryan: you got one little hole in the ground, and nobody knows we're here. see the empire state building, right. that's 1,000
: the construction of tunnel 3 is vital for maintaining the sustainability of new york's drinking water infrastructure. but the pipeline is useless if there's not a reliable supply of clean water within it. hurwitz: the city bought up land around the reservoirs to prevent it from development. it provides assistance to local residents to see that there's no pollution of the reservoirs. it's much more cost effective to prevent pollution and to protect a source of water than to remove it at the drinking water treatment plant. lloyd: what epa said to us was, "you can have an exemption from filtration "if you keep this undeveloped, "and if you can manage the wastewater so that it does not pollute your water supply." and we feel that we've reached the point where we can really keep it clean enough to drink unfiltered for the indefinite future. and new york city is in a small club of cities that actually have that filtration avoidance waiver. narrator: while municipalities are responsible for maintaining systems and source supply, the standards that protect water are established at the federal
't work alone as a sustainable solution. and, as in pittsburgh, as in new york, part of the answer lies in protecting the watershed. nelsen: we need to reduce the amount of impervious surfaces in our watershed, which are surfaces that don't let the water soak in and then create more pervious surface, whether it's by having driveways that allow water to soak in or different landscaping to try to eliminate the amount of runoff that comes off our land so that the system, even with the development it has, acts more like a natural system and filters that water. water quality and sewage infrastructure isn't the sexiest of political agendas, but by raising the awareness about water quality issues, we can create political pressure to get our issues solved. about 15 years ago, surfrider activists were protesting a beach for being polluted. the city council asked the police to escort them away. there was complete denial of the problem. 15 years later, water quality is on the agenda of every city council person in that local city, and that's completely a result of activists forcing the issue, surf
Search Results 0 to 15 of about 16 (some duplicates have been removed)